Grace backed out of the room slowly. It had taken nearly half an hour of nursing to settle Jake down. It always surprised her how hard he fought the transition from awake to asleep.
She quietly shut the door, then glanced at her watch. It was one o’clock. He’d sleep for at least an hour, maybe two. She could spend the entire time writing.
She glanced across the hall into the bathroom and saw the wicker basket overflowing, so she picked it up and carried it, bumping against her leg, down the stairs to the laundry room. She started a load, then emptied the towels from the dryer into the basket and headed back upstairs. She let Murphy, dancing at the front door, outside.
She passed by her laptop, sitting on the small kitchen table, and dumped the towels onto the dining room table. She folded each one into neat halves and then into thirds. She thought about what she would write and if she should start with an essay or a short story or go right into a novel.
Her cell phone buzzed from her purse, hanging on one of the kitchen chairs. She went over to check who was texting her. Dave.
Meeting tonight canceled. Need anything from store?
She thought for a moment then texted back: dog food, milk, butter—thanks!
She saw that her sister had texted earlier: Kyle finally asked me out. Friday. Watch Jakey another time?
Grace sighed and texted back: Of course. Have fun. Want to hear all about it.
Trying to remember the last time she and Dave had gone out alone, she picked up the towels and carried them down the hall.
She listened outside Jake’s room. He was still sound asleep.
She opened the linen closet door as silently as she could and stacked the towels. She closed the door and noticed her unmade bed in the next room, so she tucked the sheets in, lined up the pillows, and pulled the comforter into place. She hung up her robe and picked up a stray pair of socks on the floor.
She went into the bathroom to toss the socks into the wicker basket and straightened the towels on her way out.
She went into the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee. She stirred in some vanilla creamer then put the spoon and the other dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
She sat down at the small table and opened the laptop. She took a sip of coffee. It was lukewarm, so she got up and put the mug in the microwave. While she waited, she glanced at the message pad on the refrigerator. There was a list of calls to return.
The timer on the microwave went off. She glanced at the clock. Forty minutes had gone by.
She noticed the crumbs on the floor under the table and thought about sweeping. But she sat down with her coffee and opened Word, clicked on File, and scrolled down to New Blank Document. The computer beeped you have mail. She clicked the mute button and ignored the e-mail.
She began to type.